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Truck-Mounted Laser Guns

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sharks-with-wheels dept.

United States 370

bl8n8r writes "Boeing has announced a contract with the US Army to develop laser cannons that are to be mounted atop 20-ton trucks for the purpose of shooting down incoming artillery, rockets, mortars, or bombs. The High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator project actually shoots stuff instead of just painting a mark on a target for other armament to hit."

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I'm so proud (4, Funny)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 7 years ago | (#19974965)

to be an American

Next put them in C-130s, or Jeeps, like Rat Patrol.

In this day and age? (2, Funny)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975109)

With the current admin, we are much more likely to put them in a high quality Chery truck (made by china and to be sold shortly by Chrysler).

Dude... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975213)

After the war, torture, Gitmo, NSA's unwarranted wiretapping and all the other crap that has made me ashamed to be an American, I'm glad that we can even for one brief moment have something cool like this.

Yeah, sure, we'll probably sad when they end up used to blind baby seals or to violate the Geneva convention (again), but quit ruining the moment, dammit. You made me misread "cherry truck" as "Cheney truck" and I was afraid I'd get zapped in the face by it.

Re:Dude... (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975513)

You made me misread "cherry truck" as "Cheney truck" and I was afraid I'd get zapped in the face by it.

I'm a Republican and I found that statement friggin hilarious! Good job!

You are no longer of any use to me (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975395)

I want five megawatts by mid-may.

Generals gathered in their masses... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975469)

Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death's construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds, oh lord yeah! ...

(Black Sabbath)

Re:Generals gathered in their masses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19976097)

someone has been playing to much GH II ;-)

Re:I'm so proud (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975669)

And defeat them by painting the missle with laser reflecting material rendering the 50M program as a white elephant.

Sharks (1)

verybadradio (1129207) | more than 7 years ago | (#19974987)

At least they havent tried to mount lasers onto sharks yet. That would be the navy.

Honestly though, the advancements of defense technology are amazing. I wonder if this is set to be amongst the missile defense system in eastern Europe that is causing so much controversy.

Re:Sharks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975237)

lol laser sharks!

They're getting smaller every day. (5, Funny)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975007)

Yesterday: 747-mounted laser.
Today: Truck-mounted laser.
Tomorrow: Shark-mounted laser.

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (5, Informative)

zamboni1138 (308944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975215)

They're still working on the 747-mounted laser [wikipedia.org] .

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (1)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975281)

I think they actually gave up on it if I remember correctly.

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975283)

Today: Truck-mounted laser.
Tomorrow: Shark-mounted laser.


RTFA - The 20-ton truck is actually a shark tank on wheels.

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975285)

"Yesterday: 747-mounted laser.
  Today: Truck-mounted laser.
  Tomorrow: Shark-mounted laser."

And the day after that: Squirrel-Mounted lasers, who knows???

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (2, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975943)

It's when they get to the roach-mounted lasers that they'll really have a tactical advantage.

-jcr

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (1)

guisar (69737) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975441)

This will come in really handy among the hills of Afghanistan and the narrow streets of Bagdhad. Imagine being able to pinpoint terrorists, find weapon caches and occupy territory with these weapons- why they are just as useful in these scenarios as they are against the imaginary massive army of mechanized forces for which they might have been of some use. Just the thing to run up the deficit and a great trade off compared to say, more active duty end strength or veteran education programs.

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975595)

I'm guess you're being sarcastic, but taking out incoming mortar, artillery, and rockets really would be a boon in most forseeable conflicts including Iraq. For instance [washingtonpost.com] : "BAGHDAD, July 10 -- More than two dozen mortar shells pounded the Green Zone on Tuesday, killing three people, including a U.S. military member, and injuring 18, among them five Americans, U.S. officials said."

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976069)

How does a laser take out a mortar round? I guess perhaps if it's one of those astroid exploding lasers that they have in the movies . . . but here in reality how does that work? Is it an anti-gravity laser?

Re:They're getting smaller every day. (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975591)

Yesterday: 747-mounted laser.
Today: Truck-mounted laser.
Tomorrow: Shark-mounted laser.

Tomorrow afternoon: Large tank of water in the back of a truck to carry shark-mounted lasers.

That's great, but... (5, Funny)

AdmiralAudio (990385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975009)

How soon will we see these being mounted on the heads of ill-tempered seabass?

Re:That's great, but... (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975451)

How the hell can the parent be offtopic?

Dr. Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?
Number Two: Sea Bass.
Dr. Evil: [pause] Right.
Number Two: They're mutated sea bass.
Dr. Evil: Are they ill tempered?
Number Two: Absolutely.
Dr. Evil: Oh well, that's a start.

Re:That's great, but... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976133)

Boeing is mostly from western Washington. I would think it would be ill tempered seagulls or salmon.

Sweet. (1, Funny)

Kill all Muslims (845937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975017)

Obviously this will help in our quest to kill Muslims. All glory to God.

Welcome back, dear friend! (-1, Offtopic)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975209)

Ahh, one of my favourite trolls. I hadn't seen you in quite a while.

I take it you prefer your Muslims "very well done" as opposed to "still twitching"?

Its completly stupid (0, Flamebait)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975045)

Laser weapons are stupid. They are not efficient in an atmosphere. Its been proven many many times. Get over it nerds, this isn't star.

Might work in pure mountain air (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975089)

surrounding Seattle, but I think you're right. I would not want to fire one of these in the dust and smoke of a typical battlefield. That energy will just get dissipated locally which can't be a GoodThing.

No, not really (5, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975099)

The range to shoot down a RAM (rocket-artillery-mortar) threat is on the range of a few kilometers. Laser attenuation ovr that short a distance is pretty minimal. My master's thesis was on this concept, but swapping out the laser for a gun-launched projectile... you actually don't need that much focused energy to destroy a RAM threat mid-flight.

How do clouds and smoke change this? (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975197)

If there are a few hundred feet of dense clouds and smoke between you and the target, is the laser effective?

I guess the only consolation is that the enemy will have a harder time seeing you with all the clouds and smoke.

Re:How do clouds and smoke change this? (2, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975279)

I don't have numbers to throw at the question ... yes, of course, there is attenuation. My point is, and what I do know from experience, the range to downing a RAM threat is not that far, and secondly the amount of energy you need to impart to down a RAM is not as much as you might imagine (tens of kJ).

Re:How do clouds of popcorn change this? (3, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975427)

You make an excellent point. All the enemy needs to do is first fire a barrage of Jiffy Pop [wikipedia.org] popcorn. when the laser hits it, the corn pops and rains down on the target. This should be sufficient in preventing the laser from knocking out the REAL rounds, which are fired second.

Hey, it works when fired from a satellite! [imdb.com]

Re:How do clouds of popcorn change this? (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975519)

Hey, it works when fired from a satellite! [imdb.com]

B1 Bomber, not a satellite. The "sales clip" was of a little shuttle-like craft, but the actual test used a B1.

Re:How do clouds of popcorn change this? (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975523)

All the enemy needs to do is first fire a barrage of Jiffy Pop popcorn. when the laser hits it, the corn pops and rains down on the target. This should be sufficient in preventing the laser from knocking out the REAL rounds, which are fired second.

So would this be called Jiffy Chaff?

Re:No, not really (1)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975229)

Can this be defeated if the RAM has a shiny mirror-like finish?

Re:No, not really (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975251)

Its possible, but its incredibly inefficient. The only thing they have managed to do is analyze currents and movement in the air(with yet another laser) so that they can modify the actual weapon beam to be less succeptable. Its called adaptive optics. Not to mention, the laser here is called a "megawatt". And, from the story its mounted on a 20 ton truck? Yeah, im sure they will have plenty of those to go around go cover major targets when they have a range of "a few kilometers".

Re:No, not really (3, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975355)

The event horizon for a RAM threat is incredibly short. Seconds. Depending on the scenario, if you do not get your shot off within a few seconds of detection, you are dead in the water. Secondly, the amount of energy necessary to take out a RAM is pretty low... on the order of tens of kilojoules. These facts I know from my research.

(Up until a few months ago, I worked 2 rooms over from some of the guys doing the modeling and simulation for this particular system ... this is a test bed, not the finished product)

Re:No, not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975385)

Yeah, im sure they will have plenty of those to go around go cover major targets when they have a range of "a few kilometers".

How big is the "Green Zone"? How big is the Pentagon? How far apart are the White House/Capitol/etc? A few kilometers is plenty big enough if you can be precise about what you are protecting, though obviously you can't protect an entire city...

Re:Its completly stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975139)

Maybe it isn't "star", but it it could be STAR WARS.

/me is excited.

Damnit! (5, Funny)

simp (25997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975053)

This government is so incompetent!! Bush screwed up. Again...

Sharks, I wanted sharks. Is that so difficult?

Re:Damnit! (2, Funny)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975195)

Introducing the Bass from GMSea

Re:Damnit! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975239)

It's part of the mad scientist rules.

You need to start with the giant man-eating badgers, then you get to build camera mounts for squirrels; only then, do you get to work with the sharks.

So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975055)

would there be sharks driving these trucks?

The adult in me says (5, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975069)

Guns of destruction are bad.

But the kid in me says...

SA-WEEET!!!!!!

Re:The adult in me says (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975311)

The kid in me is disappointed that the truck doesn't transform into a humanoid robot with the laser held in its hand like a gun.

No, that's the adolescent in you. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975387)

The adult in me says ... Guns of destruction are bad.

No, that's the adolescent in you that says that. It wants to stop killing, hurting, and threatening, and goes after a tool that is capable of such things.

But once you've had enough time and thought to understand the unintended consequences of the simple "solution" - disarming the law-abiding - you'll reach the adult understanding that self-defense requires force, and that a credible threat of retaliatory force produces a net reduction in killing, hurting, and threatening.

"Mutual Assured Destruction" works at both the wholesale level (having prevented an all-out nuclear war for over half a century now) and the retail level (convincing crooks they want to leave you alone and either go after an easier victim or find a new line of work.)

Second-order effects often swamp first-order effects, producing (initially) counter-intuitive results. Part of growing up is learning which situations are like that, and what the useful counter-intuitive solutions are. (To people with less experience this is often mistaken for wisdom, cynicism, or evil.)

Unfortunately there is a significant fraction of the population that either never DOES grow up or never learns some important lessons about rare, but deadly, situations.

cereal commercial (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975453)

Ever watch a commercial for Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats.

The adult in me says ....
The kid in me says ....

Re:No, that's the adolescent in you. (0, Flamebait)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975823)

There's also that part of the population that leaves their guns lying around where toddlers can reach them, grabs them when they're angry at the neighbors, or doesn't lock them up at all, and they get stolen, no doubt by leftist gun-confiscators.

Police that group and I'll listen to your Limbaugh-esque insinuations.

Re:The adult in me says (1)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975497)

Bigger better lasers currently are being driven by the demand curve for blowing things up, but bigger better lasers will be useful later for space propulsion.

Re:The adult in me says (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975573)

Well the guns healing are still in development

Re:The adult in me says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975609)

Then why are you against devices (Read: Not weapons.) designed to protect the lives of our servicemen? People like... well, me.

Think my M16 evil if you will, but saying something like this is akin to it is like saying you don't think i should have a flak jacket or kevlar helmet.

Re:The adult in me says (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975955)

Guns that stop bullets good.
Hey I have no problem with defensive systems like this.

Re:The adult in me says (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976011)

The adult in me says guns of destruction are good...

The Martian in me says "Where's the kaboom? There's supposed to be an Earth-shattering Kaboom!"

Sure... (5, Funny)

chaidawg (170956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975101)

...but can it drive a 6 inch spike through a board with its penis?

Re:Sure... (3, Funny)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975227)

...but can it drive a 6 inch spike through a board with its penis?
a girl's got to have her standards

Oblig. CNC (4, Funny)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975111)

Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck
Also known as the predecessor to the Mammoth Tank.

Command and Conquer... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975113)

Nothing new, we saw this in the C&C: Generals game, when they were mounted on several USA vehicles.

Re:Command and Conquer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975563)

Yah, this is the Avenger air-defense HMMWV. Only, larger and slower. But it's a prototype, like.

Next up: King Raptors. "Let's give 'em an air show!"

And, to remain on-topic, that has anti-missile laser point defenses. Like sharks with lasers on their foreheads, except that it's lasers on their butts.

Re:Command and Conquer... (1)

yourmomisfasterthana (1097719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975763)

how did you hear about the 'lazersharks with butts' prototype? thats supposed to be highly classified research!

power reqs. (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975129)

I wonder how much power it takes to run and if it can target multiple incoming threats at once. It would be awesome if it could take on say 5 or 8 incoming mortars at the same time. Even better would be knocking out a barrage of RPG's. I guess the final implementation would be zapping bullets out of thin air which at that point you'd have a "shield" like in sci-fi. Military tech amazes me.
 

Re:power reqs. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975199)

1 truck, one laser, one threat at a time. Ability to handle multiple projectiles would be to either have multiple trucks or deal with the attack sequentially. IE it takes 3 seconds to deal with one projectile while the set is targetable for 30.

Knocking out a barrage of RPG fire is unlikely, RPGs are actually very short ranged, pretty much strickly line of sight, sub 300 meters. There's several different technologies designed to help deal with RPG fire. As for plain bullets, the old technology still works best - armor.

Re:power reqs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975221)

Zapping bullets out of thin air would create a liquid bullet that was still flying at you. I think I'd rather just get hit with a solid bullet.

Re:power reqs. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975989)

If you turn it into a blob of liquid, it's likely to turn into a spray of rapidly-cooling lead, which presents a lot more frontal area, and would be going a lot slower if it still hit you at all.

-jcr

MTHEL already tested against multiple mortars (3, Informative)

vg30e (779871) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975449)

The Laser in the article is a development of the MTHEL project. The purpose of MTHEL is to defend positions against incoming rockets and mortars. One of the test videos actually shows the MTHEL hitting 3 different mortar rounds launched from 3 different positions all traveling through the air at the same time.

yes, but how do they stand up against... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975133)

A Goa'uld Death Glider?

Re:yes, but how do they stand up against... (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975569)

Hell, I have seen those wimpy-assed things knocked down by an MP5.

My analysis (2, Insightful)

Xeth (614132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975143)

Pro: Well-paid engineers and scientists are kept in the U.S. at work on neat toy, keeping valuable talent working on a difficult problem.

Con: Obscenely-paid CEOs who came up with idea to push this useless weapon get a huge payoff, keeping destructive leeches working on the simple problem of continuing corrupt government.

Very useful (defensive) weapon (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975549)

Today it takes a dedicated 20-ton truck. In three years, there will be a Bradley-mounted design. In 10 or 20, these things would be mounted on helmets to protect individual soldiers.

Stop counting other people's money (CEOs') and rejoice at the progress your side of the war is making.

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (1)

Xeth (614132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975781)

Stop counting other people's money (CEOs') and rejoice at the progress your side of the war is making.
Hell, if it were just money, I wouldn't care. The problem is that moneyed interests tend to do subversive things that I alluded to in my initial posts. They corrupt the political system. They could sail on yachts all day and I wouldn't give a damn. I get upset when they start making congress pass bad laws.

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (3, Funny)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975871)

I get upset when they start making congress pass bad laws.

Boeing are a member of neither RIAA nor MPAA. What's the problem?

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (1)

Pyrrus (97830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975965)

The MPAA and RIAA are not the only groups lobbying for laws that are in their own self-interest. Eisenhower had something to say about this...

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (0, Flamebait)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975801)

Some of us choose not to rejoice in war at all. Some of us are looking for a better way.

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975913)

Some of us choose not to rejoice in war at all. Some of us are looking for a better way.

False dichotomy. You can rejoice at some aspect of a war (such as fewer deaths), while still looking for "a better way".

Re:Very useful (defensive) weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19976115)

sigh - think about the energy density required for these things, they wont be sitting on helmets anytime soon

And, um, have you noticed? the other side doesn't actually have any missiles

this is pork pure and simple

So will this be the demise of their ... (4, Funny)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975205)

rail gun projects? Nooooo...I think rail guns are way cooler, especially when they malfunction.

Re:So will this be the demise of their ... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975397)

Check out the Phalanx LPWS ... its a Phalanx gun mounted on a flatbed truck ... not exactly a rail gun but pretty spiff. There are some firing videos on YouTube as well...

Re:So will this be the demise of their ... (5, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975467)

Rail guns are what the navy is going to use to replace cruise missiles (which replaced heavy ship artillery). Lots of advantages there -- about the same range and precision and destructive power as a cruise missile, but at a fraction of the cost. Plus has a huge advantage over both cruise missiles and conventional artillery shells in that the ammunition won't explode if the ship gets hit -- though I imagine the gigantic capacitors needed to fire the gun may blow up if charged up and hit, though that'd only be one shot's worth of energy rather than the ships whole payload. Rail guns have a bright future, as long as they can figure out how to keep the gun from destroying itself every shot.

Lasers so far are mostly being considered for defensive roles to shoot missiles and artillery down. This is a good role for lasers, since first hitting the target at the speed of light is good when you're trying to hit a small fast moving target, and second because the energy needed to destroy a warhead isn't that large.

Two awesome future technologies, two roles. It's a good time to be a geek. :)

Um, what? (2, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975233)

The danger isn't just to personnel: during 2005, two RAF Harrier jets were knocked out on the ground when their Kandahar airbase was rocketed.
You mean not only are they slaughtering our troops, but they might conceivably injure our Harriers? Something must be done immediately!

Seriously, WTF?

Pfft.... (0, Redundant)

cyberise (621539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975265)

Call me when there are shark-mounted laser guns.

For shooting down incoming artillery, rockets etc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975267)

Nay, Bush will use them to shoot you, and your family!

I thought that was Strogg technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975289)

I thought Strogg use lasers for anti arty.
GDF uses projectile turrets.

Oh, sorry, wrong forum. I've got only one thing on my mind.

Set lazers from stun... (2, Funny)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975291)

to drain budget!

MTHEL? (3, Informative)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975317)

Why don't they just work with the already tested MTHEL [wikipedia.org] system?

Re:MTHEL? (2, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975577)

Are you sure it isn't in fact a follow-up to the THEL ? Also, iirc the THEL used deuterium to power its pumping, which could make it rather expensive. The breakthrough will be when they manage to get solid state lasers ( like Neodynium-YAG ) working like this. I imagine the Israelis will be quite interested in buying a few such devices.

Re:MTHEL? (1)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976113)

Reading up on THEL further, it is being developed by Northrop-Grumman and Israeli companies. Boeing may want to develop their own design. The article seemed a "been there, done that" sort of thing, but there's probably lots of reasons for designing an alternate system.

Pretty impressive technology though.

Re:MTHEL? (2, Interesting)

ireallylovelinux (589360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976119)

This was from the youtube video posted later on.
THEL (Tactical High Energy Laser)
For years, chemical-powered lasers were seen as the only viable alternative for weapons-strength ray guns. The most promising of those systems, the Tactical High Energy Laser, successfully shot down dozens of rockets and mortars. (this video shows it in action.) But generating the THEL's megawatts of laser power required hundreds of gallons of toxic chemicals -- ethylene, nitrogen trifluoride. The weapons grew bulky (the small-scale version was only supposed to be kept in a mere right cargo containers, each 40 feet long). Worse, after a few shots, the lasers would have to be resupplied with a fresh batch of reactants. The logistics of hauling those toxins either through the air or across a battlefield made generals shiver. So, ultimately, interest swung back to solid state systems, like Yamamoto's, and, to a lesser extent, free electron lasers.

It Moon Patrol! (1)

The Null Repeater (1055874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975335)

I think too many people in the military were playing moon patrol as kids.

Dual use? (4, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975417)

Have any trials been done on using the laser to fill a snide professor's house with popcorn? There could be a big market for this among the college crowd.

Re:Dual use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975953)

that was such an awesome movie... Well sortof

YouTube video of prototype (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975439)

Here is a youtube link of a prototype system. It can track and destroy more than one target in flight before impact. I know there is a longer version of this video, but I found this one first, you'll get the idea. The longer one shows it engaging artillery shells, rockets, and mortar shells.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVxZ9IHTH2E [youtube.com]

What about using the lasers against infantry? (1)

sponglish (759074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975443)

They don't mention using the truck lasers as anti-personnel blinding weapons in the article (probably because that would be against international law?) but I'm sure that's what would happen if a position was being overrun. Hard to imagine how infantry could defend against a beam powerful enough to zap artillery shells, certainly sunglasses wouldn't work, maybe welding goggles? Like using gas in WWI, the element of surprise might save the day one time (imagine if MacArthur had had these lasers when the Chinese People's Volunteer Army swarmed across the Yalu in the Korean War), but eventually both sides would have the weapons and it would be suicidal to cross a no-man's land under those circumstances. War has become far too deadly for fragile wetware, so now that the U.S. is fielding squadrons of drone aircraft, isn't it time to develop Wii-Remote Controlled T2000 combots? Talk about yer first-person shooters!

Re:What about using the lasers against infantry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975897)

Hard to imagine how infantry could defend against a beam powerful enough to zap artillery shells, certainly sunglasses wouldn't work, maybe welding goggles?

Maybe, uh, looking the other way?!?

Car Wars! (2, Funny)

Curate (783077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975493)

Could this be the first step towards a future of heavily-armoured and -armed cars and trucks, complete with laser cannons and oil slick emittors, like in Steve Jackson's Car Wars game?

It won't work... (1)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975527)

...it's been tried before, a long, long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away...

INTERIOR: DEATH STAR.

                Walls buckle and cave in. Troops and equipment are blown in
                all directions. Stormtroopers stagger out of the rubble.
                Standing in the middle of the chaos, a vision of calm and
                foreboding, is Darth Vader. One of his Astro-Officers rushes
                up to him.

ASTRO-OFFICER: We count thirty Rebel ships, Lord Vader. But they're so
small they're evading our turbo-lasers!

VADER: We'll have to destroy them ship to ship. Get the crews to their
fighters.

INTERIOR: DEATH STAR.

                Smoke belches from the giant laser guns as they wind up their
                turbine generators to create sufficient power. The crew rushes
                about preparing for another blast. Even the troopers head gear
                is not adequate to protect them from the overwhelming noise of
                the monstrous weapon. One troopers bangs his helmet with his
                hand in an attempt to stop the ringing.

Obligatory (2, Funny)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975561)

Yay... finally!!!

Popcorn for everyone!!!

Quake 3? (5, Funny)

Reddragon220 (890851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975681)

So the Navy has railguns and the Army now has lasers - the Air force better get quad-damage or else they're going to get pwned.

Fess up (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975705)

The High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator project actually shoots stuff

Who wrote that summary, George Bush?

Will.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19975733)

Dolphins drive them trucks?

Slashup Mashup (3, Funny)

alta (1263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976089)

NEWSFLASH:

Boeing has developed a new squirrel mounted laser. Lasers have been mounted to squirrels and released on the Iranian border. Unfortunatly the squirrels were all captured by iranian police, but not after they fried their eyes out.

Cost? $50 million nuts.

When can I get some of this tech? (2, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976163)

Forget freaking sharks. I want something like this scaled down on top of my car aimed at birds that dare to poop at my car. I want anti-bird defensives that will fry 'em if they dare to do a fly by near my car.
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